Gail Russell Rodeo Gal 1946

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Striking Gail Russell in a vivid Kodachrome sitting from 1946. An angelically beautiful leading lady with a demure and melancholy screen persona which reflected a deeper sadness in her real life. She was born Elizabeth Russell in Chicago, Illinois, on September 21, 1924. Gail's first film came when she was 19 years old with a small role in “Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour” (1943). The following year she appeared in another film, “The Uninvited” (1944) with Ray Milland, a very well done and atmospheric ghost story that turned out to be a profitable one for the studio. This was later followed by “The Unseen” (1945), a story about a haunted house, starring Joel McCrea. She was reunited with Alan Ladd in “Calcutta” (1947), shot in 1945 but not released until two years later. She made a cameo as herself in two all-star Paramount films, “Duffy's Tavern” (1945) and “Variety Girl” (1947). That same year she was cast with John Wayne and Harry Carey in the western “Angel and the Badman” (1947), which proved to be a huge hit with the public. After “The Lawless” in 1950 Paramount decided against renewing her contract, mainly because of Gail's worsening drinking problem. She suffered from an intense and almost crippling stage fright which she began to combat with alcohol. Conflicts with the law, particularly drunk driving, damaged her reputation and her star began to dim. Married in 1949 to actor Guy Madison, she was divorced by him in 1954. In 1961, at the age of 36, she sadly died alone in her apartment of chronic alcoholism, an extremely fatty liver and terminal aspiration of stomach contents all while surrounded by empty liquor bottles. She will be remembered, however, as an incredible doe-eyed beauty who presented a screen image of great innocence and vulnerability. Image Restored directly from the vintage original kodachrome transparency.